Attention, Please!

My daughter is a very busy mom to three children.  I know it’s hard for her to find time to communicate, but I hadn’t heard from her in awhile, so I sent her this survey to get her attention:

Dear Mrs. Wilson,

You have been selected to take part in an official government survey on the relationships between mothers and daughters in the U.S. Your cooperation would be greatly appreciated. In doing so, you will avoid any unpleasantness which might ensue as a result of your having ignored a government directive. Please answer as honestly as possible.

1. Do you have a mother? If no, then thank you for your time. You have completed this survey. If yes, proceed to question 2.

2. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being “I don’t give a rat’s ass” and 10 being “I wish she would move in tomorrow and do all the cooking and cleaning for me,” how much do you love your mother? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

3. How often do you speak to your mother?
a. As little as I can get away with without being disinherited.
b. Once a month. Usually the month is November.
c. Once a week if I forget to pick up without looking at caller ID.

4. How do you show your mother you love her?
a. I’m supposed to actually show her?
b. I didn’t ask to be born. The ball is in her court.
c. I buy her expensive birthday presents. She likes J.Jill more than me anyway.
d. I let her come visit me once in awhile and even pick her up at the airport without making her take a cab.

5. If you could have any mother in the world, whom would you choose?
a. Condoleezza Rice. I enjoy discussing world diplomacy and public policy.
b. My Aunt Kathy. She is smart and sweet and never sarcastic.
c. I’d keep my own. Yeah, she’s sarcastic, but I don’t have the energy to train a new one.

Thank you for your time and for saving your country money. Drone strikes are expensive.


U.S. Administration for Children and Families

I received a text in response:  “The answer to #5 is definitely Aunt Kathy.”

Clearly, that was not the attention I was looking for.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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32 Responses to Attention, Please!

  1. Dianna says:

    Oh, that is so cute….oh, to have my own mother back to shower with attention!

  2. judithhb says:

    Hello again Susan. So happy to open the email and read the survey. My kids are there if I need them but they rarely call. I tried to contact my son a couple of weeks ago and when I finally got through to him after the hellos and how are yous I said I still have your Christmas gifts here. His response – well if you had said that on the voicemail I would have called you right back. Some sense of humour eh? May I borrow your survey idea please, making the appropriate changes to account for the fact a) we are in New Zealand and b) one child is a son

  3. Ha!! Love it! And the fact that your daughter has a great sense of humor too. I think all of us with grownup and busy children feel this way. But then, I have children who turn the tables on me too and say, “Well, Mom, you never call us either!” I’m just trying to be the ‘good’ mother who doesn’t interfere! 😉

  4. oldereyes says:

    Hi, Susan. It’s good to see you back. Love this post. I’d be afraid to send my kids a survey.

  5. Helen C says:

    Isn’t that wonderful that your daughter has your sense of humor 😉 Helen

  6. LOL “Aunt Kathy”….for some reason I found that reply so hilarious! you raised a girl with a great/twisted sense of humor! 🙂

  7. Lynn says:

    What a brilliant idea! Mothers everywhere will be sending their kids surveys!

  8. Robin says:

    LOL! Brilliant survey. It’s good to see you back in the blogosphere. 🙂

  9. I wish I would have thought of this. A year ago I hadn’t heard from my oldest for months and months. This year, after having a baby, we talk a lot, mostly via fb messaging, but, I will take anything. On Saturday night I get a message which made me laugh evil(ly). I felt like rubbing my hands together in delight! It said, “It’s been a couple of days since I’ve heard from you. Are you okay?” I just thought, paybacks are tough, dear child, paybacks are tough…. Then I proceeded to write her and apologize for not being in touch for two days and didn’t even mention the gray hairs I have or the months that have gone by that she has not responded to me. Love this post!

  10. Amy says:

    May I borrow the survey? I want email it to my daughter, but she probably won’t open my email. I feel a little better now, I’m not the only mother…

  11. I’d like to borrow this (with some modifications, as I have boys and live in Canada) if you don’t mind. I’m glad to know I’m not the only mother in the world who gets ignored more than communicated with! 😦

    • Coming East says:

      Go for it, Margo! It’s amazing how many mothers are telling me they have the same problem. I feel so much better. Maybe it isn’t me?

      • My mother called my grandmother every day (at 10:00 am sharp) until the day Grammy died. When my mother lived ‘far away’, I called her every Sunday; when she moved closer, I visited at least once a week (and called between visits to share some bit of news or a funny story). My kids call me when they: (a) want something; (b) have some great news to share; (c) I guilt them into it with repeated emails inquiring ‘Are you still alive?’ (NOTE: they DO call on Mother’s Day and my birthday and visit several times a year but they don’t live very far away and I’d love to hear from them more often. I suspect this is the ‘new way’. SIGH.

      • Coming East says:

        We call my mother-in-law every Sumday, without fail, even if we are on a trip. After my mother died, we spent every Saturday night with my dad for years until he died. I don’t know why many children don’t make the same effort now. I suppose you would find many who do, though.

      • I have a grandbaby due (any day now) so I EXPECT to hear from my eldest more often (and I’m gonna tell him so!)

      • Coming East says:

        Wonderful! How exciting! And yes, that child better keep in touch!

  12. Gwen Z. says:

    You are hilarious Susan. Miss you. But so enjoy your essays.

  13. Very clever of you. I may have to borrow the concept. I have a daughter that also doesn’t return phone calls, etc. My husband had to remind all 3 kids last year to wish me a happy birthday. What did we do wrong in raising them?

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